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Health Information Channels

Communication scholars and public health researchers have long been interested in the channels people employ in their pursuit of health information. Typically this research has focused on formal interpersonal channels (e.g., patients talking to doctors and nurses), informal interpersonal channels (e.g., patients talking to friends and family), and mass media channels. The traditional mass media channels (e.g., magazines, television, radio, books, and newspapers) and health education materials (e.g., brochures and videotapes) also represent significant channels of health information. Finally, new communication technologies (e.g., Web sites, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) are also being used for the acquisition of health information.

While channels of communication are often described categorically, there is growing recognition that channels fall along a continuum. On one end of this continuum is interpersonal ...

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